hiker resting near fire and tent during travelling

Making a Basic Emergency Kit for the Car: What to Keep on Hand for Roadside Disasters

No driver plans to be stuck with a flat tire or dead battery. No one leaves on a roadtrip in hopes of getting lost. Unfortunately, disasters – both major and minor – are part of automobile travel. Having a basic emergency car kit will ease minds and alleviate difficulties.

Drivers can play it safe by watching weather forecasts and checking travel advisories. However, the best way to plan for the unexpected is to spend a bit of time gathering a few roadside essentials to ensure preparedness in a variety of auto emergencies. These preparations need not be expensive but should be carefully considered.

Roadside Essentials: Getting Started

An auto safety kit should provide for basic needs but beginners should not be intimidated. These basic needs include food, hydration, warmth, and light. Getting prepared can simply begin by filling a backpack with the following:

  • granola bars
  • high-calorie protein bars
  • bags of nuts
  • dried fruit
  • water bags or bottles
  • small blankets
  • flashlight and batteries
  • antibacterial wipes

Adding to a Car Safety Kit

After a few basics have been assembled, travelers can begin to prepare more extensively. Medical and basic automobile essentials can easily be stored in the trunk of the vehicle. Some suggestions include:

  • first aid kit
  • solar blankets
  • jumper cables
  • a traffic cone
  • safety flares
  • small tent or waterproof shelter
  • battery-operated radio
  • walkie-talkies
  • rain poncho
  • windshield scraper
  • whistle
  • fire extinguisher
  • tow rope
  • empty gas can

Supplies can be gathered over time or purchased in pre-assembled packages. Websites such as www.beprepared.com have emergency kits available online.

Personalizing an Emergency Preparedness Kit

In addition to the basics, travelers should tailor the roadside disaster kit for individual needs. For instance, families with young children will want a supply of diapers, a change of clothing and some small books or toys to alleviate boredom. Pet owners may want to pack pet food and extra water bottles.

Drivers living in areas affected by winter weather will want to store an extra pair of snow gloves along with a small snow shovel. Those with serious health conditions should talk to their doctors about storing medical supplies. Any traveler can create their own travel health kit.

Many travelers feel safe stowing a small stash of cash somewhere in the vehicle. Others prepare a folder with important insurance papers, copies of drivers licenses and birth certificates. Maps, atlases and small phone directories can be stored under seats.

By assessing travel needs and expecting the unexpected, drivers can prepare for a multitude of eventualities. Being prepared will guarantee peace of mind and allow for safety in a variety of roadside emergencies.

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